Art Holmes

Art Holmes volunteered to help out with the e-mailing of Hopedale stories and it reminded him of some other volunteer activities in the past, which he sent along.  Here they are, followed by a couple of other stories.

Totally unrelated but just thought of it as I was talking about volunteering.  I peddled papers from the time I was 9 until I was 18 —- back when I had the Boston Herald, the Boston Globe, The Worcester Telegram, The Record-American and the Boston Post —- to most of the working folks that subscribed to a paper.  Back in the 40s the papers went to 12 cents a week.

Well, now to the story: There were several widows living on Freedom Street—-small rental units Drapers let widows live in after their husbands had died.  Anyway (no matter how heavy the papers nor how cold it was) my Dad MADE me go into each house, empty the ashes from their pot bellied stoves, take the ashes out to the back alley, dump them and then go down into their basements and fill up the hod with coal so that they could keep their houses warm for another day.  At the time I thought my father was the most domineering and misunderstanding man on Progress Street but I passed on the same to our four boys.  Have never heard what my four boys thought of me during THEIR teenage years but I look back now and think of how wonderful it was that my father realized there was a need, his son was “available” and the rewards were a cup of hot chocolate from a couple of those women, cookies and there was always a “Thank you, Arthur”.

 As I remember the Herald and Globe went to 20 cents a week while the rest stayed for some time at 12 cents a week.  I got two (2) cents PER WEEK per paper customer yet was able to buy a 28″ bike, skis, and really didn’t have to ask Mom or Dad for a whole lot of  “leisure money.” I remember the biggest tip that I received each Christmas was from Dr. Campbell —–$5.00.  But he also paid me twenty-five cents a week for his 20 cent paper.  Needless to say his paper was always inside the storm door and I always got it to his house there on Hopedale Street well before 7:00 AM.  You mentioned selling papers at the main entrance to the shop.  Most of my years were with the morning papers and I had a few that I left at the “Main Office”.  Really cold days in the winter I’d sit in those stuffed leather chairs, get warm and read the funnies.  It was rough when there was snow ’cause I had to finish peddling in time to get home, change for school and eat a second breakfast.

One Halloween when I was about 16 (1946) , l left our house (46 Progress Street) after supper, went down the back alley and tipped over all of the garbage cans down to the hill where the alley connected with Progress Street.  Then I proceeded to meet with Bill Norman and we meandered around town doing the usual teenage pranks.

Chet Sanborn, the police officer on duty that evening, then showed up at our house at about 7:00 and asked if I was there.  Well, Dad told him that I was out with Bill Norman and a couple of others but I had to be home at 9:00.  (Remember when the bells at Draper’s used to ring, which, in those days, was the local teenage curfew?) Chet then told Mom and Dad what he thought had happened (all of this was told to me a couple of days later) and Chet said he’d be back at 9:00 and “Let Art pick up all of the trash.”

Daddy said, “Chet, why don’t you wait until about 10:00 and Art will be sound asleep.  Gladys and I don’t go to bed until 11:00 or so and that’ll probably teach him a good lesson.”

Sure enough, sound asleep, and awakened by (not your mother or father) but a GIGANTIC Police Officer who “invited me” to get dressed and follow him into the back alley.  (I am sure that he was well over 6′ tall but at that moment he could have been well over 10′ tall.) He then “invited” me to get dressed, follow him and he’d hold a flashlight so that I could “return” ALL of the garbage to the respective cans.  He even had me pick up minuscule “stuff” that almost made me sick to my stomach more than once.  He then let me go back home and Dad “suggested” that I take another bath before going back to sleep.  Can’t EVER REMEMBER tipping over trash cans again!!!!


 Tommy Malloy, our Chief of Police back in the 40s, used to park his car on the south side of the Main Office on many evenings.  I’m persuaded he was there to check up on the likes of me—-speeding along Hopedale Street.  A couple of us had been to Medway to a DeMolay Meeting and upon our return to Hopedale (I was the driver this particular night) I was driving about 40 miles an hour up Hopedale Street (The speed limit was certainly no more than 25 mph).

One of my buddies said, “There’s Tommy Malloy, Art.  You’ve had it.”

The next morning Tommy went to the Main Office (my Dad worked in the cost department).  He talked to my Dad, asked if I’d been out the previous night.  Daddy told him that I’d been to a DeMolay Meeting.  “Why?”

“Well, I think Art was driving at least 40 miles an hour up Hopedale Street and I thought you and Gladys would like to know.” They talked a little longer, Tommy left and Dad went back to his particular assignment.

That evening while we were sitting, eating supper, Dad asked me how fast I was driving up Hopedale Street last night.  I told him, “Oh, I guess about 25 or 30 miles an hour.” (Mistake right there—-always tell the TRUTH.)

 Daddy then asked for my keys and when I gave them to him he said, “Well, I heard it was closer to 40 miles an hour so I’m going to keep your keys for a week.”

I said, “What!!!!!”

His comment was, “Art, one more word and it’ll be two weeks.”

Don’t you think that kind of treatment is too severe, particularly when the Chief of Police and your own father work against you?  Sure learned a lot growing up in Hopedale and I don’t know many places where teenagers could be raised under such really terrific circumstances.  Hopedale practiced the “current” slogan (or whatever) where it takes a village to raise a child.  Well, Dan, these two stories sound as though I was always having a run-in with the police but they liked me and I sure hought the world of them.

The next of Art’s memories was sent to me on February 14, 2010, just after I sent out a Hopedale email story which was Leola Sterns’s memories of Patrick’s Store.

Dear Dan,

I was really interested in this edition of your historical notes!!!  I used to deliver papers (as you know) and had a paper for the barber shop on the second floor (of Patrick’s Store) and for the Washburns. In the winter if temperatures were really down it took “longer” to deliver those papers than on normal days (got a chance to get warmed up).

  Another memory was during WW II (rationing, etc.) when my Mom worked on Wednesdays in the upstairs office taking telephone orders. Reason she worked on Wednesday was the meats were brought from Boston on Wednesday and that was my Mom’s way of being reasonably assured that we’d be able to have more than tripe for our main meals during the week. Even with rationing, and even with stamps to purchase the meat needed, it wasn’t always possible to even buy some meats because they’d be sold almost as soon as they arrived.

Anyway, this article brought back that thought. Sort of amusing (to me) to think that one couldn’t always depend on getting some meats, even with rationing. Hope that you two are enjoying the end of winter and, AGAIN, thanks for keeping me on your mailing list!!

  Art Holmes

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Dear Dan

Have not responded lately to your articles but I can assure you that I cover them from beginning to end (photos, included). This last issue was particularly interesting because I “required” graduate students in my :Urban Design” class to read major portions “The Model Company Town”.As an interesting side note, Dan, if you look at the picture on page 154 (Illustration 11) you’ll be looking at the house where I grew up. The left half was 46 Progress Street and the right half was 136 Freedom Street (Soderbergs lived there).

Mom had a day bed on the front porch along with a rocking chair. The bow shaped windows were the living room and above was Mom and Dad’s bedroom. Room right through the front door was the dining room and room above was really the biggest bedroom (Brother Bob’s and my bedroom.)

Above – the Homes home, 46 Progress Street, foreground on left. The right side, home of the Soderbergs, was 136 Freedom Street. The photo is from Model Company Town. When I noticed the closed shutters, which also show up in pictures of other homes years ago, I asked Art if he remembered using them in summer to help keep the house a little cooler in those days before air conditioning. Here’s his reply:

I don’t ever remember my folks using the shutters, even when we had hurricane warnings. I do remember my Dad had screens built for the front porch and each fall he and I used to take them down (had latches holding them together), cleaning them and then I would go up into the attic, remove the screen and I would pull them up (one at a time) and store them there for the winter. Same procedure when Spring arrived —- I’d lower them to Dad.

I haven’t been back to Hopedale in a really long time (think it was when my class (’48) had our fiftieth reunion. Went by the house and wanted to see inside but family either wasn’t at home or they might have been on vacation??? Anyway, there was a really nice new one family house across the street —– had been a great part of our “hide and seek” days. Also, the garages that had been there were gone but, as is the case almost everywhere, things do change over time.

Below – the house in 2013

Here’s more from Art, sent in May 2014

Again have thoroughly enjoyed your series of articles!!!!! The one about Bill Draper brought back REAL MEMORIES. I started peddling an evening route down Hopedale Street, up Mendon Street and into White City“. That was in 1939. It was really rough for a 9-year old. When World War II came along I got a morning route from Bob McCulley (joined the US Marines) and held that route until about 1948 when my brother Bob took on the task.

I’d get my papers between 5:30 and 6:00 A.M. depending on when the Boston papers arrived. It was a lot different from today. At that time I had the Boston Post (greatest number of subscribers), The Record American, The Worcester Telegram, The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. In the winter we sure hoped that Billy or his daughter were there to open the store——-really got cold some mornings.

Some things change for the worse and I think paper deliveries have really gone down hill. I remember having to put the paper inside the storm door for most of my customers in the winter or whenever the weather was bad (wind, rain, snow). Used to get 2 cents per customer per week for six days delivery when papers cost 12 cents a week. I don’t know how they are delivered in Hopedale any more but here in Texas, they just throw them and I pray they land in the grass when raining and in the driveway when weather permits.

Guess I’m getting old but I surely enjoyed this issue, Dan, and really appreciate having you keep me on your “list”. Do take care and I’ll be looking for future issues!!!!!

Arthur Edwards Holmes, Sr, 85, of The Woodlands, Texas passed away on December 10, 2015 from natural causes. He was born to Shirley and Gladys Holmes on January 29, 1930 in the Milford, MA hospital, but was a resident of Hopedale, MA until departing for college in 1948 to attend the University of Massachusetts. After receiving his graduate degree from Cornell University in 1954 he married Constance Mary Bradshaw Holmes and entered into a long and successful career as a Planning Director, working in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and ending his career as an Associate Professor at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. Siblings include Nancy Ardelle Holmes Miller, and Robert Leavitt Holmes. Art served in the US Naval Reserves from 1948-1956, was a member of the Masons for 59 years, was a Boy Scout Scout Master, Sunday school teacher, mentor to many and most importantly a devoted husband of 59 years and father of four sons. Art is predeceased by his sister, Nancy Ardelle Holmes Miller (1932-1989), and his wife, Constance Bradshaw Holmes (7/13/2015). He is survived by his brother, Robert Leavitt Holmes of Nashua, NH, and his sons, Arthur Edward (Ted) Holmes (Mary) of Marysville, CA., Paul Bradshaw Holmes (Bonnie) of Cary, NC, Jeffrey Stephen Holmes (Mari Lou) of Gresham, OR., and Matthew David Holmes (Geni) of The Woodlands, TX, and by 6 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. A family service is planned at his home in The Woodlands, TX on February 5th, 2016.

Published in Milford Daily News on Jan. 5, 2016